Tupperware Terrarium

Mon, 06/09/2014 - 23:55 -- raeyo

Location

When I was six, I would lift this rock
that lay between the swing set and the shed
of the backyard behind the little condo off of Bear Hill Road.
Underneath the stone were tiny little black spots
protected by dirty hard layered shells
that they rolled themselves up into
at the sight of my pudgy little fingers.
I’d scoop them up and put them inside
a tiny Tupperware container
with my other little creepy crawly friends.
I didn’t have big normal two legged friends.
So, I sat there with them,
examining them with a magnifying glass.
I admired their tough exoskeletons,
their colorful protective shells,
and how they grew and changed.
I admired how they gave no notice
to this giant clumsy being staring down at them
and prodding into their business.
And they did not hold it against me
if I accidentally dropped the container
or left them out in the rain
like I did with the other kids’ toys.
I looked at them closely
and inspected my field guide
on insects, arachnids, and other tiny critters.
I identified my friends.
Armadillidiidae. Pill bugs, deceptive, actually crustaceans.
Tomato hornworm.  Not actually a worm, but a caterpillar.
Red ant.  Fierce workers and fierce fighters.
The garden snail, my favorite,
with a shell, hard and tough,
that it is unable to hide inside.
That’s the garden snail.
With a speed of 1.3 cm/s.
With movement barely visible to the eye.
That’s the garden snail.
Hanging on to the leaves of your tomato plants,
ruining any plan for spaghetti sauce that night.
That’s the garden snail.
A target of various pesticides.
A nuisance, a burden.
That’s the garden snail.
A friend of mine. 

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